Caturday Travel Picks!

It’s been a very busy week but relief is insight as I get ready to take a short holiday. In preparation I was out picking up last-minute items and discovered some cat themed finds that would be perfect for vacation…well that’s my excuse, as these fun accessories would be good anytime!

Fall is in the air and that means sock season is back. Now I am not usually a fan of wearing socks but I would give some serious thought to wearing any of these to keep my feet snug and warm on a plane ride. What better reason to take your shoes off? They are just too perfect and thinking about them brings a smile to my face.

All socks by Living Royal $8.00 – $15.00

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Cats on a plane! Kitten and Mixed cats socks

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Tigers and Leopards -oh my!

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King of the Jungle and of your feet.

Another important necessity on holiday is sunglasses, and this means you need a cool case to put them in. These cases by CatsEye London provide the perfect protection for your shades or your reading glasses and come in three different images.

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Midnight: not a sound from the pavement…

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Look your best with this keen little kitty.

Also from CatsEye, makeup bags, just right for putting your travel size items in and passing the security check. I picked up the Silver Kitty pattern for myself.

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Tabby cat keeps your essential under you paw

Leopard make up bag catseye london

Big Cats guard your make up

Finally, ensuring your iPhone is ensconced in cats is that much easier with the Cat Riot, love the name, case by Zero Gravity. You will be sure not to misplace it when you have all these cat faces staring at you. Sorry iPhone 6 people, looks like for now you will have to wait for your case.

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Calling all Cat Ladies – $23.95 for iPhone 4 and 5

Be sure to follow my Cat-stagram feed for more feline fashion finds

Book Review: My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke’s Story

First published by Penguin Books South Africa in 2012, My Life With Leopards – Graham Cooke’s Story, by Fransje van Riel was a much anticipated read for me, and as soon as it became available online I ordered it, I must admit it sat on my shelf for a while before I could get to it…practically screaming at me to pick it up. What drew me to this book initially, other than the obvious, is that other than Joy Adamson’s Queen of Shaba – The Story of an African Leopard, I am not aware of many other instances where a wild Leopard cub has been raised and released successfully back into the wild.

My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke's Story, Africa, Leopards, Big Cats, South Africa, Zambia, Fransje van Riel, South Luangwa Valley

The story begins in the private Game Reserve of Londolozi, South Africa May 1993 where 22 year old game ranger Graham Cooke is assigned to take care of two 6 week old leopard cubs who had been born into captivity in Zimbabwe.

While the means by which the cubs were secured may not be ideal, this soon becomes unimportant as you read this very personal, passionate and beautiful story. The cubs, one male (Boycat) and one female (Poepface) are entrusted to Graham to be rehabilitated back to the wild once old enough to fend for themselves. Together they embark on a unique and very special journey and for Graham it would be one that changes him forever.

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Graham with the cubs after a morning walk –  Image My Life with Leopards Book by Fransje van Riel

Graham took his responsibility of caring for the two cubs very seriously, and without a doubt loved and cherished their lives and the time they had together. He demonstrates an extreme amount of patience, understanding, respect and kindness towards these amazing and would be potentially dangerous predators never forgetting that his ultimate goal is to ensure they stay wild enough to one day return to the wild.

Grahams work with the cubs is not easy at first but his perseverance and gentleness allows him entry into their world and slowly he learns to communicate with them understanding their needs and behaviors. Along the way he learns the cubs unique personalities, Boycat the more relaxed outgoing of the two and Poepface the more reserved, and you see the cubs trust in Graham develop in wonderful ways, in turn this bond opens up a world of experiences and insights on leopards for Graham.

Finally the cubs are moved to Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, the place where Graham makes final preparations to let his cubs go forever.

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Poepface – Image from My Life with Leopards book by Fransje van Riel

My Life With Leopards is a great read, it is powerful story of a bond between human and animal and the trust they share. The story is filled with highs, lows, humor and “wow” moments, it will leave you with a unique perspective on an experience that only a few individuals have been blessed with. It is also a reminder that nature is amazing and at times very unforgiving, it truly chooses no favorites.

I found myself turning the pages wanting to know what was coming next, and I admit at times getting choked up and teary eyed. Having been fortunate enough to have visited the South Luangwa Valley, many years after this story takes place, I wondered if any of the Leopards I saw there were the descendants of Grahams Poepface.

My Life With Leopards Graham Cooke’s Story is on my Favorite Cat Themed books  list and is available online from Amazon.com in traditional Paperback or for Kindle. If you love the big cats, Leopards and wildlife be sure to pick this book up.

Fun Feline Friday! Sing It, Wear It, Sleep It

Well, it’s Friday and if that’s not enough to make your day how about some Fun Feline Finds?

Lets start off with a video featuring a great 80’s tune, a sweet cat (mandatory) and super talented kid. I found this a while ago and absolutely LOVE it, it’s happy, fun, CaTchy, well done and mandatory silly.  This is from Three.co.uk who have an obvious flair for good marketing and use of cats.

Click on the link below to see Sing It Kitty!Cat Video, Sing It Kitty, UK. adverstising, cat commercial. UKhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXy6JElmgHU

If you are feeling inspired, you can even make your own video solo or with a friend here at SingItKitty. This one will remain at the top of my fav cat videos…for now 😉

Next on my list is something I found while out and about today and it’s perfect if you are heading off somewhere for the weekend or overnight – heck it’s just a fun item to tote your stuff around in. Le Sport Sac Large Weekender in the Hiking Day Print.

cats, cat prints, le sport sac, feline print bagsIf you love the idea of proper little cat-like people in hats, dresses riding bikes about a quaint little town then you should pick this up. Le Sport Sac also offers multiple styles in this adorable, chic print.

Finally, everything is going 3D these days from movies to TV’s  but how about bed sheets? 3D bedding is all the rage (who knew?) and Beddinginn online store offers some crazy, kitschy 3D digital print bed sheets including duvet covers, pillow shams, flat sheets – ensuring you or a loved one is covered in big cats.

Tigers, Leopards, Lions, Panthers, Cheetahs – oh my!

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Wildlife Photographer of The Year – The Big Cats

The photograph’s that you wish you took, the camera to take those pictures you wish you had, the timing and talent…yes I admit there is a tiny bit of jealousy looking at these absolutely glorious pictures – but it’s all good. Today I was able to catch the WPY exhibit here at the ROM in Toronto before it closes this weekend.

“Natural History Museum in London, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is now in its 50th year, and is one of the museum’s longest running exhibitions. This internationally renowned photography competition celebrates nature and wildlife featuring 100 breathtaking photos selected from over 43,000 entries from around the world.”

I am familiar with some of the pictures and photographers especially as they pertain to Big Cats and it was really nice to see them in person. Here are my personal favorites.

Curiosity and the cat by Hannes Lochner, South Africa. This pic won as a joint-runner up 2013, Animal Portraits. It’s an amazing up close picture of a Lion cub taken with his “remote wireless technology” allowing him to get close without being intrusive. I love the expression on the Lion and the story behind it which you can read here.

Curiosity & the Cub Hannes Lochner WPYPhoto courtesy  of Hannes Lochner, South Africa, Curiosity and the cat

Other big cat photos that I really liked include:

The spat featuring a couple of feisty Jaguars by Joe McDonald, USA. This rare pic earned him Winner 2013, Behaviour Mammals.

Sharing a shower with 2 male Lions by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA, Commended 2013, Animals in their Environment.

The Winner 2013, Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species by Toshiji Fukuda, Japan Tiger untrapped. For this picture of the endangered Amur, or Siberian, tiger the photographer lived in a tiny cold hut for 74 days and on day 50 he got this shot. That is commitment!

The Runner-up 2013 of the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species, Valeriy Maleev, Russia, Survivors. This is of a rare Amur Leopard and her cubs another critically endangered subspecies.

I wonder if people looking at these realize just how precious each image is, I hope it inspires others to work towards saving all of these big cats.

There is still a few days to submit your own nature and wildlife photos with #ROMWPY on Twitter or Instagram. This give you a chance to see your photos on display in the museum. If you want to enter the WPY competition, adults and children under 17 can enter, you should start digging through your photo albums or… digital files now.